Writing Short or Going Long?

Writing Short or Going Long?

Many of my novel writing students take years to produce their polished draft. Others rush the manuscript to self-publishing. Both of these kinds of students face the same problem: How do I get my name known? Writing Tip for Today: How can newer writers gain an audience and build their reputation? Avoid Selling: Engage Isn’t […]

Make Writing Dreams Come True

Make Writing Dreams Come True

I get a lot of newsletters and pitches in my in-box that claim writers can achieve their dreams if only they believe they can. I almost always chuckle. Is that like saying that Florence Foster Jenkins (the real life wanna-be opera singer played by Meryl Streep) could sing like a nightingale all because she thought […]

Writing Roadblocks: How to Get Unstuck

Writing Roadblocks: How to Get Unstuck

A good critique can open your mind to creative solutions and set your writer-self on fire. But not-so-helpful feedback can stall your project or even discourage you from writing at all. Writing Tip for Today: I don’t believe in “writer’s block,” but I know how it feels to be stalled or so discouraged you start […]

How to Hold an Excellent Critique Group Meeting

How to Hold an Excellent Critique Group Meeting

The last two posts have discussed some of the ways writers benefit from good critique, as well as things to watch out for. Today, let’s go through what a good critique session might look like. For the purpose of this post I’m imagining a group of serious writers who seek traditional or self-publication. Writing Tip […]

Good Writing or Good Reading?

Good Writing or Good Reading?

After the last two posts about critique groups (needing one and finding one), I want to stress a couple of important points, especially for writers new to the craft or those still chasing publication. Writing Tip for Today: What’s the difference between excellent writing and excellent reading? Nothing and Everything First, excellent reading is almost […]

A Good Writing Critique Is Hard to Find

A Good Writing Critique Is Hard to Find

Since last week’s post on critique groups I’ve heard from writers who are frustrated in trying to find a good working group. Writing Tip for Today: Let’s discuss a few more ideas surrounding finding and joining a critique group. Meeting Decorum How the meeting is run has to be one of the important components of […]

Find Your Perfect Critique Group

Find Your Perfect Critique Group

  Got a critique group? Over the past twenty-five years, I’ve been a member of half a dozen different groups–it’s not always easy to find a good one. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some ideas for finding and joining your perfect critique group: Start Where You Are Critique groups come in many flavors and […]

Shaping Story Conflict

Shaping Story Conflict

  We hear it over and over: to engage readers, stories must contain conflict. But this prescription is deceptive. Not all conflict is created equal. Writing Tip for Today: Here are some ideas for story conflict that captures and keeps readers: Don’t Just Blow Stuff Up New writers often mistake story conflict for any sort […]

Story Vision vs. Reader Experience

Story Vision vs. Reader Experience

  The very hardest bit about learning to write is in being able to successfully translate your story vision to enough readers. You want them to see what you see, feel what you feel with enough accuracy that the readers are engaged to the same degree you were when the story vision occurred to you. […]

The Best Writer’s Resolution

The Best Writer’s Resolution

Like a lot of writers, I’m cringing as I look back on 2016’s resolutions: In addition to getting a big fat book contract with a big fat advance, I wanted to finish a writing book and self-publish it. Did those things happen? The optimist in me says, “Not yet, but you just wait.” In other […]